BARKS and commands by dog handlers echoed in the High Tatras in early February as part of the International Cynologic Seminary in Popradské Pleso, the SITA newswire wrote.
Twenty-five of the avalanche dogs were from the Slovak Mountain Rescue Service, three were from the police, four were from the mountain rescue services in Poland and the Czech Republic and two were from Germany. The German shepherd was the dominant breed at the seminary.
The first three days were dedicated to training the dogs. Over the following two days, the dogs and their handlers were evaluated.
"The examination consists of obedience and controlling the dog," Ladislav Gardo#šík, a cynologist at the Mountain Rescue Service, told SITA. "The second part tests the dog's capacity for searching in avalanches."
The dogs were grouped according to age and category, with some younger than a year old. After they successfully complete the course, the dogs can proceed to category A. The highest category is CW, but only dogs older than five are eligible for it.
The optimal age for an avalanche dog is three to eight years.